So You Wanna Start River Fishing?
(Editor's note: ARF's own Creekn
stepped up to the plate and wrote this excellent primer on what it
takes to get started fishing rivers and creeks)
So youíve found the website and it
sounds like fun. You wanna give it a try, but you have never fished
before. Well, letís see if we can get you river fishing.
One of the great
things about river fishing in Alabama is that anyone can do it. You
donít need the $200 rods, the $30k bass boat, or membership in any
clubs. All you need is some basic equipment, a little knowledge, and
the urge to use it. In this section, I will assume that you have no
gear and very little money. Even if you have tons of money, why
spend it if it isnít necessary?
reels- For someone just starting out fishing, I would
suggest a combo rig. You can go with a spinning rig, or spincast, or
even a baitcaster. For simplicity's sake (and value), I suggest you
start with the venerable Zebco 33.Itís ease of use and simple design
make it unthreatening to the beginning river fisherman, and it is
more than capable of standing up to most fish you're likely to
encounter during your first days of river fishing. Now that you have
your rod and reel, the next thing to do is practice casting. Keep in
mind that weíre not talking about casting in the middle of a 1000
acre lake, weíre talking about river fishing. You need to be able to
hit small targets, with little room over head, while standing in the
middle of a 15í wide rocky creek. A little practice now will save
some lures on your first trip.
for river fishing need not be complicated. One of the things you
need is, of course, line, but guess what? You already have it! Your
combo came prespooled with line, so on to a tackle box. For a box,
you donít want a large one. Remember weíre going river fishing and
you gotta carry this stuff. Most of the big box stores have a small
Plano box that you can pick up for less than a buck, and it fits in
a shirt pocket. This will be more than enough.
Now what do you put in this
box? If I had to choose one lure to keep me fed, without a doubt, it
would be a Beetle Spin. This lure will catch anything that swims,
from tiny panfish to large bass. If you really want to go minimal
and just catch fish, you could stop here, but why would you do that?
While youíre there go ahead and pick up some inline spinners. The
Mepps Aglia has been unchanged for many years, mainly because it
works. The same can be said of Wordenís Rooster Tail. The
inline spinners will cost a few bucks apiece, but they are deadly.
If the store youíre shopping has knockoffs,get them, because they
work too. You can add to this list as you like, but there is no
need. Keep it simple. You should pick up some forceps to aid in
removing hooks from the mouths of fish. $2 is a small price to pay
for helping ensure the health of the fish you release.
assume its warm, as thatís when most people go fishing. Drag out the
old grass cutting sneakers,the swim trunks that got bleached out by
the hot tub on your last Gatlinburg trip,and a shirt with pockets.
The shoes will be fine, but be careful on rocks. If you decide that
you love river fishing, youíll want to get felt soles for wading on
rocks. The shorts are just to keep you from getting arrested. The
shirt needs pockets,to keep your tackle box out of the water,
because your going to be wet wading. What I consider the most
important parts of you clothing will be your hat and sunglasses.
These are vital safety items, and will enable you to spot more fish.
If you're fishing in direct sun, please wear a wide brimmed hat to
protect your ears, neck and face from the sun. If you are fishing a
shady mountain stream, a baseball cap will provide shade for your
eyes, helping your vision. Speaking of vision,you must have
polarized sun glasses. If they arenít polarized, they arenít working
for you. Good fishing sunglasses are available for less than $10 at
the same place you bought the rest of your tackle. GET THEM! If you
wonder why, look at the streambed without them, then put them on and
look at the same streambed. Nuff said.
Fish-Wherever there is moving water! If a stream has water
in it, there are fish in it. That drainage ditch running around your
subdivision most likely has fish in it. That little creek you cross
on your way to work is probably a great spot. There are no rules
other than donít trespass. There are numerous books, websites and
maps that can point you to streams where you can fish. You didnít
think I was going to give you my secret spots did you?
In closing,for less than $50 anyone
can get the equipment they need to start enjoying Alabamaís many
streams and rivers. Can you spend more? Sure. Do you need a boat?
No, but you may eventually want one. Will you catch fish? Only if
you go fishing.
See ya on the river,
Josh Tidwell (Creekn)